Mark Altman’s Review Of Star Trek Into Darkness |
jump to navigation

Mark Altman’s Review Of Star Trek Into Darkness May 14, 2013

by Mark A. Altman , Filed under: Review,Star Trek Into Darkness , trackback

TrekMovie, in its desire to provide a broad response to the release of the latest Star Trek film, reached out to Free Enterprise writer/producer and founding publisher of Geek Magazine, Mark A. Altman, for his thoughts on the latest film. After much cajoling, a reluctant Altman, who the Los Angeles Times once called, “the world’s foremost Trekspert” agreed to share his thoughts with us (with no major spoilers).


by Mark Altman

NOTE: Review contains some spoilers – but nothing not seen in any trailer, clip or TV spot.

I have a secret to share with you if you promise not to tell anyone. The original Star Trek movies are just not very good. There, I said it – so let’s just keep it between us. There are many reasons why this is the case, starting with the fact that one of the few of the film series to actually get a motion picture worthy budget was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a film which was brutally lambasted for aping the plot of earlier, better episodes and primarily consisted of the principal cast, mouths agape, marveling at the bridge viewscreen. Which isn’t to say I don’t love Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I do. But, of course, that doesn’t make it a great movie – or even a good one, but it is Star Trek and it is a movie, one of the few that has remarkable scope and captures a true sense of the mystery of the cosmos. It also has an overture and five minutes of Kirk ogling the Enterprise that is one of the most majestic and beautiful scenes in the history of the franchise and fills me with pure joy every time I watch it. Likewise, Star Trek II, widely praised as the best of the Star Trek movies, is wildly entertaining, despite its diminished budget, anchored by a literate script from the erudite Nicholas Meyer and a powerful performance from Ricardo Montalban, desperate to shed his Mr. Rourke trappings, back in 1982. Still, Khan is not nearly as great as some of the best episodes of the series. And Star Trek III, the less said, the better. I’ve had enough of you. IV is what it is, enjoyable fluff with a prescient eco-message and some insufferable slapstick and V is a victim of its own inadequate budget. Star Trek VI is a movie which also suffered as a result of budget, recycling sets – and ideas – from other better Trek’s, but still has some nifty setpieces (including the zero-g assassination sequence) and a humdinger of an ending even if its murder mystery isn’t very mysterious and plays like a warmed over version of Seven Days In May.

The interesting thing about the Star Trek movies is they were always reverse engineered with the studio knowing about how much they would/could make and backing into a budget as a result. Trek performed like clockwork, but was never the huge moneymaker of the bigger, more respectable franchises and it was also treated that way. While Star Wars got all the love, Star Trek was the old reliable chestnut that would come out every three years and fill the company coffers but never get taken seriously by the either the studio or the critical establishment.

And then in 2009, J.J. Abrams comes along and is the first director since the great Robert Wise to be handed a sizable wad of cash to go and make a Star Trek film. His prime directive: go big or go home. And whether you love or hate that film, there’s no denying it was a huge box-office success and successfully resurrected the hibernating katra of the franchise that was in a state of permanent hibernation (sorry for mixing my metaphors there, but you get the point). Some fans couldn’t or wouldn’t accept the heresy of recasting our beloved Kirk and Spock and reconceiving Trek for the next generation (and China, Russia and Latin America, all part of the new world order in international box-office receipts). Ironically, the whole argument had echoes of the petulant late 80s tirade by fans against Harve Bennett’s Starfleet Academy which would have recast younger actors in the iconic roles. What was Abrams supposed to do?  Make a film with Shatner, Nimoy and the rest of the living cast which is exactly what I would have done – and about a hundred of my closest friends…and maybe you would’ve seen. That’s not a film that’s going to reboot the franchise, honor its origins and take Star Trek where its boldly never gone before.

There’s plenty about the 2009 reboot that I didn’t love; the slapstick Willy Wonka antics with Scotty as Violet Beauregarde, the more taste/less filling engine room, an anemic villain with a revenge plot straight out of a 1966 episode of Batman (“I’ll stand you on a planet and watch you watch your planet blow up, heh, heh”) and the fact that the bully who beats up Kirk in the bar wasn’t named Finnegan, but what it did have in spades and trumped all that was heart and plenty of it as well as the bromance-in the-making of Kirk and Spock. It also had a few delightful new tricks up its sleeves like the Spock/Uhura romance and it even had the audacity to blow up Vulcan – and not put the pieces back together again in some kind of temporal Humpty Dumpty time loop. And, of course, it also had the great Leonard Nimoy at his most rabbinical.

So four years later, its time for an encore. J.J., Bryan Burk and his team of ace filmmakers including screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof have managed to trump their previous exercise in shaking the cobwebs off the franchise and escape the trap of having our ensemble stare out into space from the bridge with a film that not only honors canon and occasionally toys with the hopes, dreams and fears of the nostalgic like me, but moves at a breakneck pace while telling a story that feels very contemporary and, at the same time, very Trekkian. Much like Skyfall did last year with James Bond, Into Darkness pays homage to the Trek canon and sets the table for the next film to be its own singular entity having solidified the bona fides of the new Trek universe and characters in a thoroughly captivating fashion. Into Darkness makes some ballsy choices, a few of which are likely to upset some die-hard fans. But the fact is, as the condescending Trek tagline in 2009 proclaimed, this isn’t your father’s Star Trek. You’re damn right it’s not, but who the hell’s going sit for two hours to watch the big screen version of “The Empath.” But here’s the rub: whatever happens in this universe in no way compromises or diminishes what has come before and can exist side-by-side with the original adventures of Shatner & Company. I mean, let’s face it, Shatner is the Sean Connery of Star Trek, as the tagline for Star Trek: The Motion Picture exclaimed, there is no comparison. So it’s hard to measure up, but damned if Chris Pine doesn’t come close. He manages to make this incarnation of Kirk his own: part James Dean and part Han Solo and yes, even part, Bill Shatner. And the new movie gives Pine’s Kirk a great arc as he is forced to confront his own version of the no-win scenario. The Kirk/Spock dynamic here is one of the most satisfying aspects of the new film and also the most faithful to the spirit of Classic Trek. If I have any quibbles, it’s that the great Karl Urban is slightly underserved as McCoy despite remaining an essential part of the Trek troika of id, ego and superego.

One of the things that really resonated for me about Into Darkness was the fact that, like the best Star Trek stories, the film has an important, and very relevant message at its heart, about not throwing away our ideals when confronted with dangerous threats to our civilization and a strong indictment of Cheney-esque and Rumsfeldian politics. In a free society, our democracy cannot just be words on a piece of paper, but have real meaning that we live by … even when inconvenient. Just ask the Komm’s and the Yang’s. And I think Kirk’s turnabout on the intruders in the first act is a powerful character moment, which while echoing Star Trek VI, is handled far more adeptly. Star Trek has always inherently been a television series and the challenge of any movie is opening the format up enough to accommodate an epic scope and theatrical setpieces without sacrificing the character moments that are at the very heart of the franchise. Into Darkness juggles that extremely well and the Kirk/Spock relationship remains a dynamic that gives the film a lot of its juice. Like most of the Trek films that preceded it, the challenge of servicing the entire ensemble often results in some superfluous scenes for the supporting characters (Chekov, most of all) and the production design remains mildly problematic to me (Bud Lite, anyone), but overall this is a immensely entertaining, humorous and, at times, touching film that delivers on all the expectations one might have for Star Trek. There are also some welcome supporting turns from the stunning, but credible Alice Eve as Carol Marcus and Peter Weller, giving his best performance in years. And Benedict Cumberbatch, brilliant in Sherlock, does not disappoint as the enigmatic John Harrison.

Obviously, the biggest challenge for the filmmakers of any big-budget action franchise are to deliver viscerally engaging and original action sequences which Star Trek has never done particularly well. Yes, Star Trek II has the suspenseful battle in the Mutara Nebula, Trek VI has the aforementioned zero-g assassination sequence and First Contact has the deflector dish combat with the Borg. Into Darkness has a number of action scenes, writ large, most of which work far better in 3-D than 2-D. And in the interest of full disclosure let me say, I hate 3-D. I hate it. As someone who remembers all too well the great 3-D renaissance, and I use the term loosely, of 1983 with Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Parasite and Jaws 3-D, I have no affinity for 3-D whatsoever. And yet I feel this film works far better in 3-D, particularly the action sequences whose impact is clearly designed to be maximized in the format which gets a great stenographic transfer. I love the cold teaser on an alien planet, where in true “Paradise Syndrome” fashion Kirk’s trying to stop the annihilation of a primitive alien world which culminates in one of my favorite match dissolves ever in a movie. There’s also a kinetic pursuit when Kirk and Spock evade the Klingons and make the Kessell Run in less than 12 parsecs and some later action setpieces that are equally inventive.

If I have any quibble with Into Darkness, it’s the ship-to-ship space combat falls victim to the same problems most recent sci-fi movies have. While the space fantasies I grew up were all influenced by submarine movies like The Enemy Below and Run Silent, Run Deep those filmmakers grew up on and the combat was slow and methodical, today’s space battles all seemed patterned on video games and happen too fast without any sense of geography or consequence. I’ll never forget watching the lumbering Reliant attacking the Enterprise on “Siskel & Ebert” for the first time and being awestruck by the Enterprise being carved to ribbons by a phaser beam. The culminating space battle in the Mutara Nebula is a textbook example of how to do a cat and mouse space battle. In Into Darkness everything unfolds so quickly that’s its tough to build to a crescendo when everything takes place at such a heightened pitch. And its equally difficult to create the emotional resonance of the Enterprise flaming out in the sky above the Genesis Planet when you haven’t established Kirk’s love and obsession with his one true love, his ship. Right now, it’s like a Timex watch, it takes a licking, but keeps on ticking. But that’s what makes the Star Trek universe such a wonderful sandbox and helps keep me excited about the future which is why these are all minor quibbles with a film that is successful in so many ways. There’s a light touch to the movie, which never diminishes its gravitas and a respect for the source material, that’s so essential. And this film also marks J.J.’s emergence as a mature filmmaker with a sure-handed mastery of both smaller, more intimate character moments as well as the larger action setpieces. As much as I love Mission: Impossible 3 and the first half of Super 8, it’s hard to argue that this is his best directed film.

As Michael Giacchino’s wonderful score culminates with a reprise of the classic Trek theme and the Enterprise prepares to head out on its five year mission, I couldn’t help but be excited about the prospects for the future; not just for this crew but future television series, webisodes and who knows what else. As Carol Marcus eyes Kirk on the bridge, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to see Kirk get things right this time and not be an absentee father to David, watch as the five year mission unfolds and maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command. Whether we’ll see any of that, who knows. But what I do know, is a phrase that I’ve heard many times before and am likely to hear many more times in the future: Star Trek Lives!

MARK A. ALTMAN is the writer/producer of the award winning, cult classic Free Enterprise starring William Shatner and Eric McCormack. He has been a writer/producer on such hit television series as Castle, Necessary Roughness and Femme Fatales and is the founding publisher of the bestselling magazine, Geek Magazine, available at newsstands everywhere. Altman has also produced numerous feature films including James Gunn’s The Specials and DOA: Dead or Alive, based on the hit video game series. You can follow him on Twitter at @markaaltman.


1. Grand Marshal Skaldak - May 14, 2013

Interesting thoughts!

2. Grand Marshal Skaldak - May 14, 2013

Also: Need to know why you think Urban is ‘undeserved’ as Bones, and why you only love the first half of Super 8 (I don’t like any of it).

3. Creed - May 14, 2013

Great review and I hope the writers, boborci and co, catch on to your note about Kirk getting it right by his Son this time, where as he has grown up without a father in this timeline, David can maybe grow up with one now… still, I guess that depends on how long this new continuity continues and if the writing staff sticks around!

4. Phasers On Stun - May 14, 2013

I love the comment about ” who the hell is going to sit for 2 hours to watch the big screen version of the Empath”. LOL

5. Michael Hall - May 14, 2013

Well. I’d always enjoyed Mark Altman’s work back in the glory days of his TNG coverage for the late, great Cinefantastique, even as I took exception to much of what he wrote regarding TOS-Remastered on this site (and publicly said so). But much as I detested J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot, this review (and, among others, that published by Forbes today) give me hope that I will enjoy INTO DARKNESS nevertheless. Please, make it so.

6. sean - May 14, 2013

“V is a victim of its own inadequate budget”

Ooh, that’s being kind. There was also the virgin director and the terrible script that knew the characters well in one scene and then acted as if it had never met them in the next. A confluence of unfortunate events, if you will.

7. sean - May 14, 2013

RE: Kirk’s relationship with David in this timeline, I figure he may have a greater motivation to remain close to him, as in this reality he knows what it is to grow up without a father. Interesting prospects there.

8. HubcapDave - May 14, 2013

Excellent review!

My favorite line: but who the hell’s going sit for two hours to watch the big screen version of “The Empath.”

9. sean - May 14, 2013

Sounds good, but does Altman mean “it’s hard to argue that this is NOT his best directed film”? The context seems to indicate that Altman thought this was the most mature directing Abrams has done yet, so.

I can’t wait to see Benedict Cumberbatch playing Gary Mitchell’s brother aka The Salt Vampire!

10. somethoughts - May 14, 2013

Awesome idea about kirks son and rebooting TNG

11. Dane - May 14, 2013

This is my first time commenting on TrekMovie and it will likely be my last time as well, but I just needed to say that this review of the new movie and of all things Star Trek in general is one of the most objective, thoughtful articles I’ve read on this website (minus Anthony’s work, of course). The first paragraph alone regarding the original movies should be required reading for most people who regularly comment on this website. Outstanding work, Mr. Altman. And Anthony, thanks for all your work on TrekMovie. It’s much appreciated and I hope it continues.

12. TREKWEBMASTER - May 14, 2013

I agree…

From TOS to TMP to TNG, we have had refits, rewinds, and we remembered.

Perhaps if J.J. were a fan it would “limit” or “diminish” the perspective of taking “first star to the right, and straight-on til morning?” Yes, of course…

But not off-course. It seems as if with every incarnation of Star Trek, through the various venues and flotsam and jetsam of advancing technology, it lives. I GROK Star Trek. I GROK J.J.’s vision much the same as Gene’s. I really get it.

With TOS, we really didn’t have much to work with, but they made it work and work it did. It put our imaginations to work. Combined with ideals which never fail and often-times pulling ourselves and morals up by the boot-straps, we stood tall.

This continued on-toward TNG, which passed the torch onto a “new generation,” and it is “logical,” admiral. We don’t grieve and as Whales weep not, neither do we. We like this new “reboot,” it’s exciting!

As the “Mirror Universe” added a polarized view of “another” TOS, J.J. has added “bread and circuses” to and “enhanced and expanded” vision of version which is very welcome among Trekkers, and perhaps Trekkies. I can GROK it, J.J. I really can…

It is very rare indeed, to have the opportunity to work within many dimensions; and you could even ALMOST go as far as your “imagination” and vision of perspective to say that the possibilities are infinite.

There’s no time like the present, as they say in temporal quantum physics, and I GROK this new “flashed and rebooted” version and vision which J.J. has transcribed and transmitted to us all.

And I haven’t even seen the movie yet…lol.

Peace and Long Life.
Live Long and Prosper

13. Eduardo Cordeiro - May 14, 2013

“ maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast ´´.

Please, let us all wish this never happens. Enough with reboots. Star Trek has such a big universe.

And I do not agree with when you say that the older Trek movies were not that great. If they´re so bad, the reboot were not going to happen.

My main grip with these new movies aren´t the movies at all. I enjoyed them a lot.
It´s people saying how much they are superior and “cool´´ to the older stuff.

Until I see Into Darkness this Friday, my favorites Star Trek movies are TOWK and First Contact.

14. Bob - May 14, 2013

Sounds great can not wait just one more day away.

15. Curious Cadet - May 14, 2013

@Mark Alt,an,
“or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command”

Now that’s a way to have your Kirk and eat it too!!

“‘Captain Kirk’ is my father, call me David”

16. Anthony Lewis - May 14, 2013

@12 —

I don’t think he is saying they are bad. More to the point I think he is of the opinion that a lot of people tend to see the worst of them and the best of them with rose colored glasses.

The terrible ones aren’t that terrible and the good ones are the greatest movies ever made.

17. Underhill - May 14, 2013

“…the film has an important, and very relevant message at its heart, about not throwing away our ideals when confronted with dangerous threats to our civilization and a strong indictment of Cheney-esque and Rumsfeldian politics. In a free society, our democracy cannot just be words on a piece of paper, but have real meaning that we live by … even when inconvenient.”

That is good to hear. I was very disappointed how some of the themes in The Dark Knight promoted unconstitutional crime fighting. Here’s hoping Kirk and crew will stand on higher ground. The last thing I want to see this Thursday is a Trekkified Patriot Act.

18. Robman007 - May 14, 2013

Most hard core “not my trek, I hate this stuff” crowd need to remember this line in his review

“One of the things that really resonated for me about Into Darkness was the fact that, like the best Star Trek stories, the film has an important, and very relevant message at its heart, about not throwing away our ideals when confronted with dangerous threats to our civilization and a strong indictment of Cheney-esque and Rumsfeldian politics.”

That sounds like Star Trek to me…

19. Commodore Adams - May 14, 2013

This is a great review, in depth and very eloquent.

I cannot place it until I see it but The Undiscovered Country remains my favourite Star Trek movie, followed closely by TWOK, TMP and Star Trek 2009. I love The Motion Picture for many reasons and Mark nailed it.

20. BatlethInTheGroin - May 14, 2013

#2: He said “underserved,” not “undeserved.” It means Bones didn’t have enough to do in the movie.

21. Buzz Cagney - May 14, 2013

Can’t say that I agree with most of that!

22. NCC-73515 - May 14, 2013

Good to see a reviewer who really gets what this movie is about!
All the haters should read it and rethink their opinion ;)

23. BatlethInTheGroin - May 14, 2013

Although this article could have used a judicious amount of proofreading prior to posting, I think it’s correct about pretty much every point.

24. TREKWEBMASTER - May 14, 2013

@ 16 – I agree. I can appreciate different opinions because both can be true and very relevant. I GROK it!

25. David Oakes - May 14, 2013

All this fuss about JJ not being a Star Trwk fan …

Remember that Nick Meyer wasn’t either. And look what he gave us.

26. Carcazoid - May 14, 2013

@Grand Marshal Skaldak: He didn’t say “undeserved.” He said “under-served,” as in “under-used.”

27. Check the Circuit - May 14, 2013

Great and insightful review from a guy I’ve trusted for a long time. (I always looked forward to his annual season reviews of Next Gen back in the day.) Mr. Altman has that rare combination of reverence for the source material with an understanding of how the material has to evolve to survive and prosper. Plus, he isn’t shy about pointing out the warts either.

Now, more than ever, I’m really looking forward to seeing a GREAT (not perfect) Star Trek movie tomorrow night!

Thanks Mark!

28. - May 14, 2013

” Shatner is the Sean Connery of Star Trek”


Think I’ll go and tweet that now.

With reference.

29. GG - May 14, 2013

I LOVE Star Trek III. I don’t know why people are so critical of it. It was a very strong follow-up to Khan (considering the difficult and challenging plot line of actually bringing someone back from the dead, I thought they did a prett good job of not making it silly). It had some very bold moves in it, too.. Death of Kirk’s son, Theft of the Enterprise, a space battle, and the Destruction of the Enterprise. Good drama. About the only time we see someone get phasered by Kirk in any of the movies, too.

30. Jefferies Tuber - May 14, 2013

9. ^ ditto that question.

Glad to hear Mark enjoys the new movie. He’s really the most knowledgeable and circumspect Trek fan I’ve ever met–honest about what he loves and what he doesn’t.

I compelled my best friend to watch TWOK last year, since I knew he’d be my companion for STID. (Relax: he’s 30 and knows more about pop culture than several of you combined.) I love that film, but holy crap does it have terrible production values. The smoke machines when Kirk halts the Kobayashi Maru are cringe-inducing. Kirstie Alley’s cluelessness about her character and the story are apparent in every frame. TWOK looks significantly cheaper than modern television, and but for the Genesis video and ILM’s beautiful Mutara battle, the film could not visually hold up to contemporary audiences. Altman’s right. The movies are great only because of the characters and the occasionally great screenwriting. Glad he said it.

31. DavidJ - May 14, 2013

I would probably take exception with TWOK not being an objectively “great” movie just because of it’s small scale and budget, but the others I agree with.

I love TSFS, TVH and TUC to death, but they’re still very insidery and basically just glorified TV episodes.

32. Dalek - May 14, 2013

Great review although spoiler free??? That last paragraph ruins the one of the mysteries of the film describing the final scene — that’s like saying Kirk is given the Enterprise at the end of 09 before having seen it.

To be fair the only people I’ve seen have a major problem with this movie are the die hard Trekkies who haven’t seen it yet, relying on any internet feedback that correlates their opinion that this should be a clone of the classic series. None of these people have a right to an opinion until they’ve seen it. The sad part is these are fans in high places in the fan community who don’t follow the Star Trek philosophy of not judging before you boldy go…

33. Andy Patterson - May 14, 2013

” Just ask the Komm’s and the Yang’s.” my favorite line.

“….. that I didn’t love; the slapstick Willy Wonka antics with Scotty as Violet Beauregarde” When I saw it I likened it more to being like Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep in Mary Poppins, but yours is a good one too.

34. Curious Cadet - May 14, 2013

@11. Dane,
“The first paragraph alone regarding the original movies should be required reading for most people who regularly comment on this website.”

Welcome to the Octagon.

Here’s the thing, even Atman’s review does what so many fans do … “You guys are idiots with your stupid nitpicks, I LOVED everything, except — that Bones didn’t get more to do” … or insert your favorite nitpick.

The bottom line is nobody can say they love this film 100% and everybody’s nitpick is just as silly as everybody else’s.

I don’t understand why there isn’t more tolerance here. Some attack ANY criticism of the new films with the voracity of a studio executive whose job depends on the success of the new film. The original films were great for what they were — products of their time. Is it OK that they represent a high water mark for some fans? Sure, why not? It’s OK for a fan to contrast the differences for themselves. And new is not always better — Poseidon Adventure and Willy Wonka, come immediately to mind. Besides, I think it’s pretty clear that Abrams’ Trek does not rely on those original fans for its success.

However, I disagree with Altman — the new films have little to do with the original series. They rely on the same formula that make any modern action adventure summer blockbuster successful. The fact they they skin it with the veneer of Star Trek doesn’t make it Trek. TOS was never widely popular when it was on the air, and that arguably was the most distilled version of the series, truest to what it was conceived to be. The subsequent movies followed suit, but as Altman points out, even they don’t truly represent the original experience. Perhaps that is the nature of motion picture adaptations.

Nevertheless, fans of TOS have every right to complain that the new films don’t measure up, or down, as the case may be. It seems the complaint here then is the old fans should just get with the program and accept this new formulation as the same as the original. But that’s like saying “New Coke” was the same original Coke, just improved for modern tastes. And while it’s true some people actually liked it, most didn’t, and it certainly wasn’t the same. The fact that Abrams’ Trek is liked by a majority of those who view it, certainly doesn’t negate the views of those who don’t, anymore than it can be said it’s no different from its predecessor. The reality is, it’s a lot easier to launch a successful new formulation of your soft drink when not that many people were drinking it to begin with, even at the expense of your original customers. So too with Star Trek.

35. Robman007 - May 14, 2013

If the original films are bad, then I’d hate to see what he thinks of the TNG films. I watched Generations and Nemesis on Syfy on Sunday and both felt right at home being on TV as movies..very made for TV quality. The only TNG film that felt like an actual movie was First Contact.

Trek 3 is one of my all time favorite Trek films..felt very TOS. Was the only trek film to start with the traditional “Space…the final frontier” intro..loved the risks it took by destroying the Enterprise, killing David and ending the careers of our heroes. Just awesome stuff…not to mention Kruge, my favorite Klingon villain since Kang/Kor/Koloth in TOS. THAT was a Klingon, back stabbing and vile, before TNG suddenly gave them honor, which was always odd and didn’t work well with TOS Klingons….

Also, the soundtrack was amazing. Anybody who picked up a copy of the expanded CD should know what i”m talking about. Probably the best Trek soundtrack besides TMP.

36. Clinton - May 14, 2013

I agree with a lot that’s in here. I will, however, confess that I skipped a paragraph or two that had a “spoilery” vibe. Dang! Only 1 more day before I can read all the articles I want — come on Wednesday IMAX showing!

37. TreK_Fan - May 14, 2013

I have to say Star Trek the motion picture as well as Wrath of Khan are the 2 best films of the franchise to date for 2 totally different reasons. I have not seen into the darkness yet, so my view may change. The first picture is grand in scope, best cinematography to date, best visuals to give you the sense of scale and wonder of space travel. Its a movie that makes you think, and whose universe is truly visionary and different from from our own world, be it 1979 or even today. The wrath of Khan had great space battles and was a great movie more so because of the story rather than the special effects wizardry of the first film. All other movies in the franchised failed to capture either a strong story line or great effects. I am hoping this new film brings us both a good story and special effects to match either earlier films, minus of course the lens flare.

What I believed may have been possible when they rebooted Trek is to have used state of the art animation like they did in the new Tron film and have Shatner and Nimoy the rest of the living cast do a film with cgi technology making them appear as their younger versions. Also having said that, have old tv images of DeForest Kelley and James Doohan used again via cgi and incorporate them in a new film. Since this is a sc-fi film, why not use this technology to re-imagine Star Trek’s with past actors playing their original roles in a new movie, it would make for an interesting film. I realize it would be a much more labour intensive project, perhaps more expensive to produce, but it would have been spectacular on so many levels. Perhaps one day in the future when the franchise is rebooted again, a new director can look into making that a reality.

38. Rich Civil - May 14, 2013

This review was a real breath of fresh air. especially after reading so many stupid juvenile comments (mostly on Facebook) on Star Trek articles.

39. Spock - May 14, 2013

Guess its an indictment of Obama administration as well.

40. HubcapDave - May 14, 2013

@37 TreK Fan

I’m sorry, but that would be a horrid idea. I’ve watched Tron: Legacy twice, and while I like the movie (actually appreciated it more the second time I saw it), the de-aging of Jeff Bridges to play Clu is just downright creepy. The cgi used to do this looks best when static. However, when moving, it moves the face in such a way that it drops into the “uncanny valley”. Watching a Trek movie with this used on the entire cast would (in my opinion at least) be a dreadful watching experience.

41. TreK_Fan - May 14, 2013


You may be right, the technology is not perfect yet, but I think one day, perhaps soon, they will be able to use cgi along with old film footage or older actors and we will be able to see an old or dead actor as their younger self back on the silver screen.

42. Jack Zymurgy - May 14, 2013

37-my inner fanboy wants to agree with you, but the logic centers in my brain say no. Trek has to be refreshed for new audiences if it is to continue. If all you want is the original cast, then go watch TOS and films I-VI. I love re-watching them. They never get old to me. But Paramount ain’t going to make what it wants to make off people like you and me. At the end of the day, Trek is entertainment and entertainment is a business.

New Trek means new actors. And frankly, I think rebooting the TOS characters with a new cast every 15 years or so James Bond style versus creating whole new ships and crews that may or may not catch on is good business for Paramount. When this series runs its course, they’ll do what DC does with Batman and Superman- start over again.

Is every Trekike going to like every new version of Trek? Nope. And that’s OK. I’m a Bond fan who hated the Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton flicks but loves the Daniel Craig stuff. Some folks think its Connery or nothing. Some even thinks Bronson is best. Different strokes for different folks.

Or as Spock might put it, infinite diversity in infinite combination.

43. Red Dead Ryan - May 14, 2013



44. Eagleman1969 - May 14, 2013

Don’t agree with everything he says, but a solid, thoughtful review. He knows his history. Considering variations in budgets, directors, writers, “the times”, technology, etc; it is a true wonder Star Trek has survived & thrived.

I’ve been a FAN (fanatic) for all 47 years. Good times, bad times, alien “nose pieces”, whatever. I even thought Nemesis was entertaining, I still watch it, even though I hated Data biting the big one.

Star Trek has TWICE the movies as Star Wars, had nearly 30 YEARS of live action TV series AND (thank God) not a Jar Jar Binks between them!

45. Jeyl - May 14, 2013

“As Carol Marcus eyes Kirk on the bridge, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to see Kirk get things right this time and not be an absentee father to David, watch as the five year mission unfolds and maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command.”

Why does it have to be a son?

46. Curious Cadet - May 14, 2013

@41. TreK_Fan,
“they will be able to use cgi along with old film footage or older actors and we will be able to see an old or dead actor as their younger self back on the silver screen.”

Good lord, why would anyone want this? I don’t want to see some dead actor reanimated by who knows who. That’s not the actor. Period. Say what you will about an actor like Shatner, good or bad, he makes those choices. Who’s making the choices for the digital actor?

Perhaps there’s a place for aged actors to reprise their younger selves in a movie with this technology, flashbacks and such, but to carry the film as its central character?

No, let it go. I honestly don’t understand why any fans want to see the original actors continue on in this fashion. Why that is interesting to anyone is beyond me. What is so wrong with recasting? Since when was Star Trek ever about the actors? It’s about the stories. As long as the actor is true to the character, what difference does it make who plays it?

47. LogicalLeopard - May 14, 2013

“….stunning, but credible Alice Eve.”

So, both don’t normally exist at the same time? Why isn’t the same applied to a handsome male actor, like Pine?

*shakes his fist at the computer screen* TREKKIEGALLLLLLL!!!!!!! Now I see chauvanism EVERYWHERE!!!! *LOL*

48. Curious Cadet - May 14, 2013

@44. Jeyl,
“Why does it have to be a son?”


But good point — anything can happen in this universe. I’d watch it. Toss in a few episodes with Chris Pine playing “dad” via subspace Skype …

I think the reality is, as I pointed out above, the powers that be would want to “have their Kirk and eat it too”. In other words, re-cast Kirk in a franchise where Pine is already cast as Kirk in the movies. So it’s a TV reboot, with Captain Kirk still flying the ship which is not in conflict with Pine’s Kirk in the movies, assuming he continues past the third film.

49. LogicalLeopard - May 14, 2013

45. Jeyl – May 14, 2013
“As Carol Marcus eyes Kirk on the bridge, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to see Kirk get things right this time and not be an absentee father to David, watch as the five year mission unfolds and maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command.”

Why does it have to be a son?


Oh wow….when I read that part of the article, my mind went into fanboy meltdown – Rebooted series starring Captain David Kirk in the Rachel Garrett Era. But you’re absolutely right. Since the child probably won’t be conceived at the exact same time as David Marcus, it wouldn’t be David, or necessarily a boy. Hmmnnn….I’d watch a series with a Leonora Spockina Kirk *LOL* But the more I think of it, it’d probably be better to have the character (male or female) reduced to a lesser role, like maybe even First Officer, because the whole focus of the show would be about comparisons to Kirk senior.

And that would also mean…….Shatner cameos!!!

50. LogicalLeopard - May 14, 2013

“I have a secret to share with you if you promise not to tell anyone. The original Star Trek movies are just not very good. ”

I’m glad someone has the courage to say it. I can barely admit it to myself. I love the TOS movies, mostly because of the comraderie between the crew and the Big Three. Not because they were outstanding movies. And I also have to examine the fact that I saw the original movies when I was a kid, and that inherently makes things seem better than they are. I was an adult when the NextGen movies started coming out, so I knew how horrible they were *LOL* But ST09 was the first movie that I could actually recommend to people who weren’t Trek fans, and I did to as many people as I could. Admit it – although you can sell PARTS of the TOS movies to people – such as the Mutara Nebula scene, the Spock Death scene, etc, can you sell any of those movies to someone who doesn’t like Trek? Probably not.

51. star trackie - May 14, 2013

#45 “Since when was Star Trek ever about the actors? It’s about the stories. As long as the actor is true to the character, what difference does it make who plays it?”

Wow. Clearly not a TOS fan. It’s ALL about the actors man, always has been. They are the ones who breathed life into these characters. Without the traits of the actors, there is no depth.

The characters are why people tuned into TOS. It wasn’t to see what planet they beamed to, but rather, to see how those great actors brought those iconic characters to life, REACTING to the planet they beamed to. The actors in JJ’s trek are immensly watchable and likable which is never a given in the movies. It could have gone so terribly wrong. But it didn’t and yes, Trek lives again and is prospering like never before!

Man, it’s a great time to be an original series fan…a Star Trek fan!

52. Thereare4lights - May 14, 2013

I want to see Picard on the big screen again….the REAL Picard…Patrick Stewart…….I…..want……..see…it…………please…..

53. BatlethInTheGroin - May 14, 2013

#51: It’s always been about the stories AND the characters. To say it’s always been about the actors is inaccurate, as the actors were… well… not that great. I’m a fan from back when it was still on the air, but I still have to admit that TOS’ actors were rather weak at time. Nimoy, Doohan and Kelley were excellent, but Shatner was a HORRIBLE actor, while Takei, Nichols and Koenig were just set dressing. The reason TOS was so good was that it had great stories.

54. Mad Mann - May 14, 2013

Spot on review.

But this leaves me with some hopes and questions for the next movie:

1) How will the 3rd one end the trilogy? I don’t think it can end with the Enterprise going off into space, it would have to end with an ending. Maybe with Kirk quitting Starfleet to focus on raising David? It’s weird, but possible.

2) The love of Kirk and crew for the Enterprise needs to be established by the third movie. Maybe the 3rd would take place after or near the end of the “five-year-mission” so Kirk would really come to love that ship. I just hope the Enterprise doesn’t get destroyed.

3) Klingons. The third will be about the Klingons.

55. STLives!! - May 14, 2013

I’m an American living in Europe. Saw Into Darkness Saturday night. All I can say is that you all are going to love this movie. It blows away anything I’ve seen in recent memory. The excitement level is through the roof.

Seriously, I’m asking when the blu ray can be released. This flick leaves me wanting more…like a TV series. Can’t wait for the next movie!

56. Gary Makin - May 14, 2013

The Mark Altman edited magazine Sci-Fi Universe published an article in 1996 called “50 Reasons to Hate Star Trek: First Contact”. That kind of hyperbole is completely standard on fanboy sites like AICN and Badass Digest now.

57. Trekspert My Trekhole - May 14, 2013

Good idea, bro. Start out your review by saying every Trek movie before JJ was no good. And so this site continues its descent into madness by reposting this so-called “trekspert” opinion for all to see aboard the revisionist bandwagon.

58. DeflectorDishGuy - May 14, 2013

Rumsfeldian politics??

*rolls eyes*

59. NuFan - May 14, 2013

How will the 3rd one end the trilogy?

Keep dreaming, old man.

60. Grand Marshal Skaldak - May 14, 2013


That is what happens when you’ve been studying for finals for three weeks straight. :'(

61. JohnRambo - May 14, 2013

@59. NuFan


62. JohnRambo - May 14, 2013

@53. BatlethInTheGroin

“The reason TOS was so good was that it had great stories”

Totally wrong dude! It was ALL about the characters.

63. Spock's Bangs - May 14, 2013

# I’m a fan from back when it was still on the air, but I still have to admit that TOS’ actors were rather weak at time. Nimoy, Doohan and Kelley were excellent, but Shatner was a HORRIBLE actor,

Sorry, you couldn’t be more wrong here. You don’t get the lead in a network tv series by being a bad actor. Shatner’s Kirk is masterfully played from his commanding presence to his charming smile and great comic timing. The man knows how to act. To call it horrible is simply telling the world you’ve really never watched it.

64. Jack - May 14, 2013

“You don’t get the lead in a network tv series by being a bad actor”

Based on what evidence?

65. Curious Cadet - May 14, 2013

@62 JohnRambo,
“Totally wrong dude! It was ALL about the characters.”

Then how do you explain Star Trek V? The characters alone evidently couldn’t save that movie from its poorly written story and other flaws.

Besides, the characters are part of the story — integral — you can’t tell a story without characters. Good story = good characters.

66. Vultan - May 14, 2013

Previous Trek movies are “just not very good”? Well, they must have something going for them, or else Abrams and his “creative” crew wouldn’t be pillaging them for all their worth, Wrath of Khan in particular.

It’s great they’re trying to include a message. Now let’s see if they can do it without wallowing in cutesy pop culture pastiche like so many cash cow reboots.

67. Warp 10 - May 14, 2013

Here’s my rankings of all Trek films after having seen STID:

2.Voyage Home
3.First Contact
4.Undiscovered Country
5 Search for Spock
7 Star Trek
8 Into Darkness
9 Nemesis
10 Final Frontier
11 Generations
12 Insurrection

68. bjdcharlie - May 14, 2013


69. Martin - May 14, 2013

One thing i wish to ask the creators of the upcoming third film is,

Are you planning on bringing any closure to these cast of characters in this era for the third and final part of the trilogy.

It would be a shame because where just about starting to get to know them.

70. Martin - May 14, 2013

@67 And my ratings for all 12 films for best storytelling are

1. Voyage home 10/10
2. WOK 10/10
3. First contact 10/10
4. Star trek 10/10
5. Into darkness 9/10
6. Undiscovered country 7/10
7. Search for spock 6/10
8. Generations 6/10
9. Insurection 4/10
10. Nemesis 3/10
11. Final Frontier 2/10
12. TMP 2/10

71. Phil - May 14, 2013

@66. Maybe a more delicate way to have stated it would have been to say they did the best they could with the resources available.

72. Spock's Bangs - May 14, 2013

#65 “Then how do you explain Star Trek V?

Dude, wrong again. The somewhat lackluster, but still enjoyable trek 5 IS enjoyable largely due to the engaging performances of Shatner, Kelley, nimoy and Luckinbill. I dug Sybok’s mad search for the almighty and it felt just like a TV episode… And that’s just about the highest compliment any of the movies could ask for. If you can’t see what the sctors there did with a simple campfire scene, you just don’t get it nor do you grasp the magnetic appeal of those characters…that exists due to the actor’s skills, bringing them to life.

73. Hat Rick - May 14, 2013

At its very pinnacle, Star Trek is about the best in humanity. This includes the expressions of the intellect, spirituality, and sentiments of the best writers in Hollywood — and, indeed, the entire world. There is nothing better in fiction — literary, audio-visual, or what have you — better than the best of Trek.

You can have your Greek tragedies. You can take and keep your Shakespearean masterpieces. You can read Milton to yourself all day long. Trek’s apex is as good as all of these.

There. I said it.

If this new movie matches the very best of Star Trek, then, ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we have a motion picture for the ages.

74. Hat Rick - May 14, 2013


“There is nothing in fiction — literary, audio-visual, or what have you — better than the best of Trek.”

As corrected.

75. Ted C - May 14, 2013

Stupid review. and I think the first Star Trek movies are perfectly fine. That part was not necessary.

76. ug - May 14, 2013

For once I’d like to see someone defend JJ Trek without feeling the need to tear down the rest of Trek history. JJ Trek wouldn’t have existed in the first place had those TOS movies not kept the flame alive.

77. KHAAAN the weasel - May 14, 2013

nah, I don’t know… can’t really agree with this review. The thing that upset me most about STID was not its “un-trekkiness”, i.e. stuff working differently than it would in the “prime” timeline, the overall “starwarsification” etc. (although had some major issues with that as well) – it still delivered on a lot of ends where Trek ’09 failed to deliver (moral and ethical overtones? – Check! fanboy dreams come true? – check! Nice Kirk/Spock or even Kirk/Spock/McCoy-moments? – check! etc. etc.).
What really upset me was the fact that the story just kinda seems to fall apart towards the end. I just wonder sometimes, how much of a challenge it presents to writers, to write a story, that’s simply adherent to its internal logic (all “canon” stuff aside).

78. Chuck - May 14, 2013

I found the first three sentences of this review a bit pretentious and probably just an attention grabber. I enjoyed reading the rest of the article (thankfully spoiler free) although I disagree with much of it. The older Star Trek movies and shows (especially TOS and STNG) were very different in style than the new movies but most of them were excellent productions. I’m sure I will enjoy STID, too.


79. Curious Cadet - May 14, 2013

@72. Spock’s Bangs,
“Dude, wrong again.”

Yours says “Sweet”.

“If you can’t see what the sctors there did with a simple campfire scene, you just don’t get it nor do you grasp the magnetic appeal of those characters…that exists due to the actor’s skills, bringing them to life.”

Well, that wasn’t my point. If the characters are ALL Star Trek is about, then ST V should have been the highest grossing box office of all the TOS films, as that film was arguably more about the characters than any other and had no real story to get in the way.

However, you seem to have shifted your argument from the characters to the actors being the most important aspect of Trek. So Pine, Quinto and Urban are better at bringing those characters to life than Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley since ST09 made more money than any of the original TOS films?

80. porthoses bitch - May 14, 2013

I’ll always remember loaning my gf Free Enterprise with the instruction of “just watch this”…..she calls back a few hours later… and says “Well, that explains alot”….love that film.

81. Baxter - May 14, 2013

Wow. Great review.

82. starshipconstellation - May 14, 2013

This is what the Guardian UK magazine had to say about the film:

At the time the 2009 movie came out, I really wanted to like it but I had qualms. Then one of the trailers really sucked me in only to find that I was watching the promise of the film “not being my father’s Star Trek” being broken early and often. I won’t bother rehashing it since it’s been covered many times by numerous people. I thought at least it had largely a fine cast. I have no problem with recasting iconic roles since I’m a fan of Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II.

This will be the first time that I am not in the theater watching a movie called Star Trek on opening day if I even go at all. The reviewer at the Guardian summed up succinctly all of my problems with the core of the 2009 movie and based on what he said about STID see that there is really no need for me to spend the bucks to view essentially the same movie I saw four years ago. Wish I felt different about it, but there it is.

83. Sebastian S. - May 14, 2013

Mark Altman is an opinion I trust; I’ve met him at a couple of conventions and listened to panels he’s hosted on Star Trek. Few people know ST as he does (with the exception of the Okudas and Altman’s “Free Enterprise” co-writer/director Robert Meyer Burnett). Comparing STID in any way to “Skyfall” was sufficient praise for me…

I look forward to seeing STID for myself this Sunday (in IMAX 3D, no less).

84. Jefferies Tuber - May 14, 2013

82. Narcissist

85. Rush Limborg - May 14, 2013

Hoo, boy. Suddenly, I get concerned about the movie, with Altman getting into politics and claiming this new movie does the same. (Indicting Cheney and Rumsfeld? Sheesh, love or hate them, they’ve been beaten on ENOUGH, already!)

Here’s hoping it doesn’t get preachy, a la Oliver Stone or Aaron Sorkin….

86. The Original Spock's Brain - May 14, 2013

John Cho as Captain Sulu would rock!

87. starshipconstellation - May 14, 2013

@84: A difference of opinion is not narcissism.

88. Colin - May 14, 2013

Why did Altman mention “The Empath”? Why didn’t he mention “The Doomsday Machine” or the “Balance of Terror”?

Paramount admitted recently that they did a survey of overseas market viewers, and these viewers wanted more action-adventure and less Trek. Apparently, Trek doesn’t translate well overseas. So, the company influenced the direction and feeling of this new movie.

Long ago, people added water to wine. I feel that the same has happen with Star Trek. There might be elements of Trek, but those elements have been lessened. If you like your wine with water, ok. I like my wine undiluted.

89. Dennis Bailey - May 14, 2013

Undiluted whine? There’s a lot of that among the hard core, yeah. ;-)

90. Dennis C - May 14, 2013


I agree. It is, by far, the most emotionally charged off all the Star Trek movies. I still remember Jeffrey Lyon’s review many years back on how the overall tone was somber and effective. The death of Kirk’s son, stealing the Enterprise, the destruction of the Enterprise, McCoy reuniting with Spock. All great stuff (not to mention that beautiful visual of the Bird of Prey touching down on Vulcan). Why this film has always been lumped into the ‘odd movie’ category is something I’ve never quite understood.

And face it: Christopher Lloyd was to Klingons what Leonard Nimoy was to Vulcans: his performance provided a template for decades to come.

91. Patriot Gamer - May 14, 2013

I know this will be deleted by the libs running this site but…heregoes:

Rumsfeldian = National Defense

To a lib that’s a bad thing. Not to me. We didn’t kill enough of those bastards over there in my opinion! LOL!!!

92. st381 - May 14, 2013

Right on #39 and #91. Why Mr. Altman felt it necessary to liken the theft of liberty to only the Bush administration is beyond me.

It seems all our politicians are willing to steal our liberty in the name of security.

93. Spock - May 15, 2013

I really liked Star Trek 3, it had some of the best character moments in the entire movie series.

#92 I agree, just look what is going on right now with the Obama administration. IRS, Bengazhi, AP Phone taps, Fast and Furious, etc.

Just look what was going on when Trek was on TV in the 60s…LBJ, Nixon.

Seems Star Trek is doing what it does best, holding a mirror to society.

94. Colin - May 15, 2013

I am not hard core. I have never been to a Trek convention. I have never dressed in a costume.

For me, it’s hard to reconcile my beliefs about the original crew with the facts about the new crew. I remember reading the Bible where Jesus said that it is wrong to put new wine into old wineskins, and how some people will have difficulty with accepting the new. I am one of those people – I am having trouble with accepting this new Star Trek. (I am not saying that believing in Star Trek is akin to believing in a religion – I don’t believe that. I am using what I have available, and the Bible is what I have available.)

I find that it is harder to speak with people on the Internet. It’s not the same as talking to them in person. I find it true, in my opinion, that people become more insular on the Internet, and they are less tolerant of people who speak differently than they. I find the Internet to be a nest of vipers.

95. Buzz Cagney - May 15, 2013

#88 they’ve added urine to wine with this movie.

I’m not even sure Altman is actually a Trek fan now! How can you write off the early movies in such a cavalier fashion? There are some good movies in there- 3 among them.
I’m truly staggered that someone purporting to be a fan could say otherwise.

96. Buzz Cagney - May 15, 2013

#82 your judgement is absolutely spot on. Unlike Altmans!

97. Star Trek: Nemesis blows, is the point - May 15, 2013

@75. “Stupid review. and I think the first Star Trek movies are perfectly fine. That part was not necessary.”

I think it is. We can put the Star Trek movies in a vacuum to themselves and compare each one ot each other, but when you start putting Trek movies against an array of movies from sci fi and other genres, those movies don’t hold up particularly well.

I think that more has to do with Paramount using the franchise as a vehicle to make money. Remember, even though Star Trek predates Star Wars by nearly a decade and a half, TMP is Paramount’s response to Star Wars.

That’s part of the reason why I’d love to see the TV show and film franchise consolidated under one roof, and be controlled by a company that actually cares about Star Trek, not just the money it does or does not make.

98. - May 15, 2013

Actually I showed my nephew Wrath of Khan recently. His first time watching a Trek movie and he mentioned after that he was surprised how good it was given that the technology to make films is so much more advanced now.

That was an unbiased opinion.

99. Mitchell - May 15, 2013

I will never understand the stance that because one loves something new they must reject and denounce what came before.

Much like i see many on here thrashing The Final Frontier or Insurrection. Embarrassing? Unmemorable?
Hardly, both films contain some of the best Trek moments and characters in The Cannon.

Blaming special effects or smaller production size are also empty points. Paramount like all studio’s take advantage of loyal fan base’s like Trek’s trying to maximize profit. Shoe string budgets are most notably what tripped up Final Frontier, Insurrection and Nemesis’ final product. Only until they wanted to make good money again on Trek did they pony up to make more resources available for the filmmakers.

Classic Trek was far from perfect, nothing is ever perfect and bad robots two outings certainly are not either.

100. Star Trek: Nemesis blows, is the point - May 15, 2013

I think that’s the point of the start of his review. Classic Trek wasn’t perfect and we should be able to admit that to ourselves. Especially in the context of trying to constructively review a movie.

101. KevinA Melbourne Australia - May 15, 2013

I’ve never looked at any Star Trek as perfect. I’ve love some episodes more than others. I’ve watched every incarnation since my hero idol James T. Kirk strutted onto the bridge in 1966 and have enjoyed it all. I can’t understand why people must put its evolution down so much. It’s a TV show, a movie franchise, a fantasy story and yes… it’s not perfect! Big deal…I’ve been entertained all the way.

I loved ST 2009 and have seen ID twice and, following tradition, will see a few more times on film then a dozen on Blu-Ray as I introduce others to ST.

Thank God for this history, this legacy left to us by the Great Bird of the Galaxy! I’m sure he would be very happy that his wagon train to the skies just got new horses and wheels! JJ and team have done a tremendous job!

Star Trek Lives!!

102. StelArian - May 15, 2013


103. Lope de Aguirre - May 15, 2013

My ranking (have to see into Darkness again for a proper rank:

01. The Undiscovered Country (10/10)
02. First Contact (10/10)
03. Star Trek (09/10)
04. Generations (09/10)
05. The Motion Picture (08/10)
06. The Wrath of Khan (08/10)
07. The Search for Spock (07/10)
08. Insurrection (07/10)
09. Into Darkness (07/10)
10. Nemesis (06/10)
11. The Final Frontier (06/10)
12. The Voyage Home (04/10)

104. Luke T - May 15, 2013

Great review! Especially liked your comments on the ship-to-ship combat.

If I have any criticisms of these new Star Trek movies as a whole, it is that they seem to speed through and gloss over what should be character and canon-defining moments in this re-imagined Star Trek universe.

The movie certainly ticks all the right boxes, but it doesn’t take enough time to develop the characters and set up tension and suspense before the set pieces.

What you are left with is a very technically well-made pastiche of iconic visuals and character moments all thrown in together with little emotional pay-off or resonance. Many of the various nods to the original films seem forced and inferior.

That said, some of the decisions to take Star Trek in bold new directions and reimagine some of the familiar elements this time around was well-conceieved and the acting in general was very solid.

It was definitely a good enough movie to be added to my blu-ray shelf, I just wish it had been a great enough sequel to become one of those real classic ‘treats’ to go back and revisit now and again.

105. KHAAAN the weasel - May 15, 2013

@103 Lope de Aguirre:
Well, that’s definitely an… UNUSUAL ranking. But “Generations” ranked fourth? SERIOUSLY?

106. Captain Rickover - May 15, 2013

Dead-on critic, Mr. Altman!

107. Chuck Watters - May 15, 2013

He used ” Quibbles ” three times in his review – I have a feeling Tribbles are a story point in this Trek .

108. Penhall - May 15, 2013

Sorry, but I have a hard time taking what Altman says seriously when he proclaims that none of the TOS movies were very good. Really? Well if that’s how you felt about the TOS movies then your thoughts on the new one doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

109. Dennis C - May 15, 2013

John Ary’s review is in sharp contrast to Mark Altman’s:

110. HubcapDave - May 15, 2013

Seems to me that people are taking “not very good” to mean “not good at all”, and that’s not what he’s saying.

111. Fubamushu - May 15, 2013

“Star Trek Into Darkness is a fun movie to watch, as long as you don’t take it as canon. I like to think of it more as really expensive fan fiction that takes place in a “Mirror, Mirror, Mirror” universe.”

To which I would add, it is not as good as most fan fiction out there.

112. Djeewhy - May 15, 2013

Ho I just understand why this site is called Trekmovie not Trekmovies.

Only the last one is good enough to see, precedent were just bad, cheap irrelevant, shit. OK, you lost me today.

Free Enterprise? Please, just tell me who knows about it?

You may love STID, you have no autority to say the others (those you remember the number, not even the title) were not good enough for you.

It’s actually insulting tor the Trek fan I hide inside.

Personnaly, I rank Generations second after The Motion Picture.

Not a word about Generations, Insurrection or Nemesis, only a few about First Contact just to critic the deflector dish scene it’s pathetic.

You really think Star Trek is alive. No it’s dead, something else took its place.

It looks like Star Trek, it smells like Star Trek but it’s not.

113. Kenji - May 15, 2013

Great review Altman. I still have all of the Cinefantasiques!

I’m happy you’re happy with it, I think our tastes are fairly simpatico.

Regarding the ‘quality’ of the ST film series, they certainly have suffered from budgetary and conceptual limitations, but because of the enormous affection felt for the brand, many fans enjoyed them. That’s a ‘cult following’ for you. Nothing wrong with it. I mean, if there is going to be a Shaggs movie, why not make efforts to defend TFF (which the current JJ team watched, hence the insertion of the “forehead on bulkhead” gag in ST09).

114. ME!! - May 15, 2013

I’ve had about enough of people excusing shoddy writing and bad plots by simply saying it doesn’t affect the original “Prime” universe Trek and/or because of the production values (it looks pretty, so what?).

What….I’m supposed to accept trash because it looks cool? If that were enough for me, I’d have stayed to finish the second Transformers instead of walking out of the room after 30 minutes.

I’m tired of substandard plotting & writing and I do NOT believe we should simply put up with it because of the production values. Can we not have high production values AND a good script?

115. Ken - May 15, 2013

What made Star Trek great was a special combination of actors and characters. Aside from Next Gen, no other incarnation, including the JJ reboot comes close to replicating that chemistry.

116. Keachick - rose pinenut - May 15, 2013

“when you haven’t established Kirk’s love and obsession with his one true love, his ship.”

I think this is the creepiest part of the way Kirk is seen. I really hope that the Supreme Court don’t emphasize that aspect. The notion feels a bit sicko. Starfleet/the Enterprise are an important part of his life. For him to make the love and obsession of his life hints at a psychological pathology and may even deem unfit to command.

The two things I am sick of reading about is this notion (as above) and the Kirk/Spock bromance. Do people really think that the Kirk/Spock relationship is so akin to the Denny Crane/Alan Shore real bromance of the Boston Legal series? Just wondering.

117. Keachick - rose pinenut - May 15, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness is CANON and pretty good CANON at that!

118. Keachick - rose pinenut - May 15, 2013

My 18 year old son says that STID is the most intelligent Star Trek film alongside First Contact. Out of the mouths of *babes*…

119. GarySeven - May 16, 2013

The New York Times review is seeing what I am seeing:
“But all the same, it’s hard to emerge from “Into Darkness” without a feeling of disappointment, even betrayal. Maybe it is too late to lament the militarization of “Star Trek,” but in his pursuit of blockbuster currency, Mr. Abrams has sacrificed a lot of its idiosyncrasy and, worse, the large-spirited humanism that sustained it.”
It will make a lot of money. So what.

120. Colin - May 16, 2013

That article raises a point that I haven’t thought about. In three of his films, JJ Abrams has had an entity with a revenge-driven mentality. The core cast of characters have to contend with this entity. This entity destroys a large area in its quest to seek resolution and escape. Will the new Star Wars have a revenge-driven character? I hope not.

121. Joelist - May 16, 2013

The NYT review (like pretty much everything in the NYT) is off base. If they want to lament the militarization (as they ineptly put it) of Star Trek then they need to go and wipe out several TOS episodes, much of TNG, much of DS9 and indeed the other Trek movies starting at TWOK. Like it or not Trek has never made any bones about Starfleet being a military organization that also does exploration.

122. HubcapDave - May 16, 2013

@119 Gary Seven

I guess this guy never saw TWOK…….

Trek has been militarized for ages. It has always been a balance between military protection and scientific exploration.

123. HubcapDave - May 16, 2013



124. Kenji - May 16, 2013



Really? My god, how stupid. The movie is explicitly, underliningly, against the militarization of space. It is the fanboy’s wet-dream deathcruiser version of the Fleet saucer and pins look, the Dreadnought, which embodies the evil(s) in the movie. The Admiral abuses his power to start a war – crazy treasonous. Actually, the movie ends early. Is the next one about the war? (Sigh.) OTOH, Cumberbach is great. And we never saw the rest of them activated. So.

125. GG - May 16, 2013

@ 90

Agreed. Christopher Lloyd (who was known for comedy) was a fantastic followup villain to Ricardo Montalban. Very good performance.

I do agree, however, with where the action/ship-to-ship combat has gone in recent years. It’s the same thing I hate about Michael Bay and Transformers. The fighting between the robots, etc. It’s overdone, and you can’t see what the hell is going on. Everything is too big, too close, too fast and messy. You can’t make out anything.

126. Captain Ransom - May 16, 2013

How dare this idiot toss aside Star Trek 3, which had Christopher Lloyd playing one of the greatest klingons in trek history? Then there’s the whole murder of kirk’s son which was hugely unexpected and a far more powerful event in the series than the ‘destruction of vulcan’ which left me feeling nothing. Freakin douche.

I think the Forbes review of Into Darkness was the best I’ve read so far. He annihilates this new movie.

127. Kenji - May 16, 2013


Although it could also be argued that TSS threw away David and Saavik, the true Next Generation of Trek characters.

128. sexy bodybuilder - May 17, 2013

I’m very pleased to discover this great site. If you don’t mind May I also share a tip. Fidning a Personal sexy muscles love firm could possibly be dificult, if you live in Sourthern California and you need a Personal sexy muscles nude man at love, click my link.

129. vimd - May 18, 2013

star trek 2 (2013) is star trek 2: wrath of khan (1982) re-imagined and diluted. it’s star trek in name only. jj has the whole entire star trek world to indulge his imagination and we discover he has little imagination. the plot doesn’t even pass the smell test. jj doesn’t even bother to create a plot from his imagination. instead he re-imagines a 31 year old movie rather than come up with anything fresh and spirited. i know jj likes to make shiny movies with lots of eye candy. but can’t he spend a few seconds on a NEW plot.

130. Steve Gennarelli - May 19, 2013

I agree with just about everything Mark said. Great job JJ and crew…count me there for the opening weekend sometime in 2016…The folks at “Bad Robot” have got a handle on the franchise just like Harve Bennett and his crew did after the original “Star Trek II”.

The sky’s the limit.

131. TreK_Fan - May 20, 2013

My review. First half of movie build up are good, but second half comes crashing down (pun intended). Admiral Marcus motives should have been more developed. The entire last scene on earth makes no sense; what there is no starfleet command, ships and personnel to deal with all that is going on? Futuristic San Fransisco looks very much present day with just more buildings. Adding flying vehicles doesn’t convince me we are in the 23rd Century. The film doesn’t ‘look’ set in the future in all its scenes, its too contemporary looking, particularly the earth shots. And the end dialogue right out of wrath of khan I found laughable, perhaps terrible might be more accurate, I thought I was watching a bad parody at that point in the film. That’s my 2 cents. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.